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We Love Little Rhaburn!

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All can recall the recent hard rains which visited us too often.  Flooded rivers, streets awash!  Belize had a very soggy profile for weeks and weeks. A  kind man from  the rural area,  Rhaburn,  off the Philip Goldson highway, came across a shivering baby ocelot,  who appeared to have been washed away from home in the massive flood waters. 

He contacted the zoo for assistance and we responded immediately.  Good that we did!  The cub was severely dehydrated.  He was in great need of emergency care and attention.   The zoo staff tended to him with a round-the-clock intensive care mode.

The constant care paid off.  Little Rhaburn, named after the area where he was found, has responded well to his caretakers.   Going from being bottle-fed to lapping his special milk mixture from a plate, he gained strength and has become an ocelot of renewed  health.   While it is certainly the case that he still needs attention and a watchful eye, zoo staff are no longer worried that he may not survive.  Rhaburn’s condition improves with each passing day.

Good news for the little fellow!   We have a young female ocelot, Linda, who will be his ocelot buddy when he comes into the zoo.   Imprinted animals, or animals such as Rhaburn who have been hand-raised  and used to human care, can no longer live their lives in the wild.  We feel very proud that we not only saved this stunningly beautiful cat, but that he will also have a happy life at the zoo, and with a friend, too!

One important lesson which Rhaburn will share with visitors is that, at one time, and not all that long ago, his species, the ocelot, was hunted for its gorgeous coat.   It would take 125 ocelots or more to make one fur coat!  This hunting practice nearly caused the ocelot to teeter on the brink of extinction.

This is no longer legal.  And both Rhaburn and Linda will be reminders to all about the special creatures which call the forests of Belize their home.  And that they deserve our respect and protection, now and forever.


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